Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Honey Buns

I found this recipe several years ago in a magazine and have since adapted it to suit my family. They are very similar to a nutty cinnamon bun that has a gooey, sticky coating with even more nuts on top. It's very simple to make, and takes very little effort, especially if you have a stand mixer to do the kneading for you. Great for a quick breakfast or even a yummy dessert. I'm sure these buns will quickly become a favorite in your house.

What You Need:

1 tbs yeast
1/2 c warm water
2 eggs
1/4 c sugar
2 tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/4 c flour
Sticky Stuff:
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c honey
1/4 c butter
1/2 c pecans or walnuts, chopped
2 tbs melted butter
1/2 c pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

What To Do:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in water.
Add in the eggs, butter and vanilla and mix well.
Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix until smooth. Add in enough of the remaining flour to create a soft dough. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 5-8 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic. Place into a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let raise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

In a sauce pan combine 1/3 c brown sugar, 1/2 c honey, 1/4 c butter and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan and sprinkle 1/2 c chopped nuts over the top.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured board. Roll into a 24x8 rectangle. Brush with the 2 tbs of melted butter. Sprinkle with the 1/4 c brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 c chopped nuts.

Roll up from the long side and cut into 12 equal pieces. To do this, I trim off the ends, cut the log in half, then in half again and finally cut each half into thirds. Place into the pan with the honey mixture. Cover and let raise again until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan slightly before turning them out onto a serving platter, using the left over honey mixture to drizzle on top of the buns.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Corned Beef Hash and Eggs

Growing up, when my father was home for breakfast, it was an all out food occasion. He liked his big breakfasts! Bacon, or sausage, eggs, home fries, pancakes, and toast, big was not the word for it. One thing he liked a ton was corned beef hash. Do you know the stuff I'm talking about? It comes in a can, is full of salt and fat and quite frankly looks a lot like cat food. Now I'm not saying it wasn't tasty. I've eaten my fair share of it, but being an adult with a family has made me change my mind on a lot of foods that cross my table. If I can make it myself and it's relativity easy and cost effective then I'm all for it! The best part is that when it comes out good, I get to share it with you! However, before I give you the recipe there are just a couple things I want to note. The first is that I make my own corned beef and there are two ways you can do this. The first way is combining salt, water and spices and letting the meat soak and suck up the brine for up to 3 weeks depending on the recipe you use. The next is what I do. It takes 3 to 5 days and uses pickling spices and a special Corned Beef Cure which I purchase from the Sausage Maker website. I also don't use brisket because frankly it's not available to me here so I buy london broil cuts of beef when they're on sale. I also use venison (deer meat) which is what I have used in the recipe below. One more quick note. When you go to season your hash, I highly recommend that you taste it before adding any salt at all. Since the meat is brined in salt to start with, you might not need any in your final dish.

What You Need:

Left Over Corned Beef, cut into a small dice
2 potatoes, cut into a small dice
3 tbs veg oil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs ketchup
2 tbs water
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

What To Do:

Heat a large sauté pan to medium high and add in the veg oil. Start cooking the potatoes until they start to soften. Add in the corned beef and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until everything is lightly browned. You'll noticed I didn't give a measurement for the corned beef. This is because you can use left over corned beef or a whole corned beef that you've previously cooked just for making hash. You want roughly the same about of corned beef as potato, if not a bit more. When I make it, I'll use about a cup more of corned beef compared to the potatoes. Sprinkle with the thyme and pepper and give it a stir. Mix together the ketchup with the water and stir into the hash. Season with salt. At this point, you can continue cooking the hash as is until the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are nice and soft, or you can let the mixture cool and shape into patties and freeze for when you want them. To cook them, just heat a bit of oil in a pan and cook until browned on both sides. Serve with Sunny Side Up Eggs on top. You want to the break the yokes and let it mix with the hash. It's the only way to eat it if you ask me!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cow Pies

About two weeks ago my husband started bugging me for S'mores. Not that I can blame him. What's better then graham crackers, melted chocolate and toasted marshmallows all smushed together. They're messy, gooey and oh so yummy. So I made a few in the microwave for him. Then he started going on about these little cupcake like things that were nothing more then the layers of S'mores packed into cupcake form. Knowing that trying to take these S'mores out of my pans would be a terrible ordeal, I started playing around with a couple ideas. I made these little S'more bites in just a few minutes and that's what I was originally going to call them. That was until they were completely made and looked more like little cow pies instead! Just a couple of ingredients and just as few minutes, you can make these little bites anytime. However I should warn you. They are extremely addicting!

What You Need:

1 sleeve graham crackers
1/2 bag of marshmallows
Hershey's chocolate bars
1 tbs butter

What To Do:

In a bowl, crush up the graham crackers with your hands. You're not making crumbs out of them, just breaking them up in small pieces. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt the butter and then add in the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat. 
The chocolate bars I used are the ones that they market specifically for S'mores. I'm sure they're just a plain Hershey's bar but this time of year you always find them together with marshmallows and graham crackers. I put them in a bowl and melt them in the microwave. It only takes 30 to 60 seconds.
Dump the graham crackers into the melted marshmallows and stir well. Drizzle the chocolate over the top and again stir well so that everything is combined. 
Using two tablespoons, scoop a bit of the sticky mixture up with one spoon and use the other to smush it together and then place onto a parchment lined sheet. Let sit and cool till they firm up. I would store them in the fridge, however they never lasted long enough to make it there!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Halushki is a Slovakian dish of noddles and cabbage, however my husband calls this pasta dish by the same name. Is this the true name? Probably not but it's what his grandfather calls it as well. In fact it seems like every dish is called Halushki and that is most likely because of my ignorance of Slovakian cuisine and pronunciations of their dishes. When my husband first asked me to make him this dish we were house sitting for a friend of my moms. I was looking for simple things to make while we were there so I didn't have much to clean. Now I do have to warn you, I gave my husband a look of disgust when he told me just what was in this pasta. The three main ingredients are very good on their own but I was very skeptical how well they would taste together. In all honesty, I was scared to eat it!!! I made it for him anyway, always a firm believer that something has to be tried before saying that it's gross. While I apply this rule to all food items you will never see me try a Rocky Mountain Oyster or Chitterlings/Chitlins. If you're not familiar with what those two dishes are then I encourage you to click the links and expand your culinary mind. If you've ever had either of those dishes, please let me know how they were!
Back to the matter at hand. I know this dish is going to seem strange to a lot of you, but I do urge you to take a walk on the wild side and give it a try.

What You Need:

1lb box small shell pasta
3 large onions, sliced
2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 (16oz) container small curd cottage cheese

What To Do:

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet. Sauté the onions over medium heat, until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to the lowest possible setting and add in the cottage cheese. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the onions and cottage cheese. Stir together well. The cottage cheese will almost melt and coat the pasta. Serve as a side or main dish.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore is an old world dish that means "hunters style." It was a dish that was prepared for the well-to-do family during the Renaissance as they were the only ones who could afford poultry and the sport of hunting. Traditionally it's a slow simmered dish of chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms but today has many variations. It's a warming meal and perfect for a cold winters night when you need something hearty. Make sure you have some nice crusty bread to sop up the sauce with.

What You Need:

1 3lb chicken, cut into pieces: drumsticks, thighs, and cut each split breast in half
flour for dredging
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can tomato sauce or tomato puree
1 c red wine
1 large onion, sliced
1 green and 1 red bell pepper, sliced
1lb white button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
Buttered Egg Noddles to serve it over

What To Do:

Dredge each of the chicken pieces in flour and sear in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. You're not cooking the chicken, just browning the skin and removing some of the fat.
In the bottom of the crockpot, combine the rest of the ingredients stirring well. Nestle the chicken pieces into the sauce, put the cover on the crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hour or on high for 3-4. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese all baked together till hot and bubbly is a dish that will please anyone. It's one of those simple dishes that taste wonderful any time of year. It can be made in several different ways but I prefer to make Parmesan Crusted chicken and go from there. I promise this is one dish that won't disappoint you in the slightest. Serve it with some spaghetti and steamed broccoli for a complete meal.

What You Need:

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Jar of your favorite pasta sauce
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

What To Do:

Spread some of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Place the chicken in a single layer and cover with more sauce. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake in a preheat 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Eggplant and Sausage Pasta Bake

I love eggplant but I was getting a little tired of eggplant parmesan and I needed something easy to feed a crowd one night. That is how this dish was born. Sautéed eggplant combined with sweet Italian sausage, pasta and fresh mozzarella cheese are combined with tomato sauce and baked together for a delectable dish. It's simple to throw together even though it has a few steps to get it going. It's a great comfort food and perfect for when company is coming over because one pan will fill the bellies of many. Serve it with some garlic bread and a garden salad to complete the meal.
What You Need:

6 links of Italian sausage (about 1lb)
1 large eggplant, (about 1 1/2lbs) cut into 1 inch cubes
1lb of tube shaped pasta such as penne or rigatoni
1 (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1lb of fresh mozzarella cheese
Veg oil
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions and your liking.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, brown the eggplant in veg oil, working in batches if needed so that the pan isn't over crowded. Remove to paper toweling to drain an excess oil and season with a sprinkle of salt.
In the same pan, brown the sausage, making sure to cook it almost all the way through. When done, set aside to cool for a bit. 
Again, the in the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic, adding in more oil if needed. Once the onion is soft add in the crushed tomatoes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for about 15 minutes to make a sauce.

While the sauce is simmering, slice the sausage into bite sized pieces. Cut 2/3 of the mozzarella into cubes, and thinly slice the rest, setting it all aside for later.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, sauce, eggplant, sausage and cubed mozzarella, mixing it well so that everything is even distributed. 

Place into a 13x9 pan and top with the slices of mozzarella. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the cheese has melted.

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